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Oregon's Iron Jubilee gives hundreds of visitors a glimpse of life in the region in 1867



Marylou Colver sat on the porch of the historic Iron Company Worker's Cottage in Old Town, closed her eyes and listened to the banjo music being played by Jim Bolland and the clip-clop of horses' hooves on nearby Wilbur Street.

"These sounds transported me," she says, "just for a moment, back to Oswego in 1867."

Colver was not alone. For the hundreds of visitors to Lake Oswego's George Rogers Park on Saturday, Oregon's Iron Jubilee was a chance to immerse themselves in the city's unique industrial past by celebrating the sesquicentennial of the first iron smelted in Oregon.

There was vintage baseball, bluegrass music and clogging. Organizers even arranged for horse-drawn wagon rides between the city's historic Iron Furnace (which was opened for tours) and the Lake Oswego Preservation Society's new museum on Wilbur Street, where Bolland played his banjo on the porch.

"Although demonstrating iron casting was beyond our means, we were lucky to have two blacksmiths from the Fort Vancouver Historic Trades Guild who demonstrated their craft to curious children," says Susanna Kuo, who organized the celebration with Colver on behalf of the Preservation Society and in partnership with the City of Lake Oswego. "This was probably their first chance to see a blacksmith in action."

Colver and Kuo both say Oregon's Iron Jubilee succeeded in making learning about local history fun and entertaining. As for the weather, well, Kuo says "it could hardly have been better."

"We got lucky with nice temperatures and blue skies for most of Saturday," she says. And when it started to rain late in the day?

"The light drizzle that began to fall at the end of the evening, during the bluegrass performance, created a different ending to the day," Kuo says. "The gentle mist and the sound of the performers' voices in the deepening dusk were hauntingly beautiful and like a balm after all the heat and smoke of the past month."

— The Review

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